I generated a paper wallet offline and running from fresh OS, and I'm not going to ever type that private key into a computer until it's time to spend the coins.

But I will send coins to this address as a 'piggy bank'

My question: can the Qt client be configured to track an address and update the available balance for an address, without the private key ever being entered?

  • 1
    That would be a great addition. The paranoid amongst us might not want anyone else, e.g. a web service, know just which address we are watching.
    – user5376
    Jun 1, 2013 at 21:30
  • 1
    you can do this from the commandline with bitcoin-cli version 10+ Nov 22, 2015 at 0:47

6 Answers 6


As of version 0.8.1, this is not possible with Bitcoin-Qt. There is a pull request to add support for watch-only addresses, which may make it into 0.9. Feel free to help testing!


Try using BlockChain.info - you can add a watch only address and then receive email or SMS alerts every time it does anything - so you don't even have to consciously keep an eye on it.

Edit: I apologise, I didn't see that you wanted to use QT for it. I don't know of any way to do this, so propose blockchain as an alternative.

  • Qt would be the most convenient, but 'watch only' address is what is was looking for tnx
    – pinhead
    Apr 29, 2013 at 23:42
  • 2
    It seems as if the question was suffering from a mild case of the XY Problem. Your answer solves what he meant to ask, though. Upvote for you. Apr 30, 2013 at 1:06
  • Another service that provides this type of monitoring is btcbalance.net . Apr 30, 2013 at 1:12

Cointrack.net is a solution for users who need a convenient location to keep track of their various digital currencies stored in a variety of forms.

Cointrack does not store your coin; instead it displays any number of your address balances. It can also notify you of balance changes via email. This streamlines the process of keeping tabs on all of your addresses, especially if they are stored remotely and/or on paper.


I use Balances.io to track my Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin balances. You never use a private key. It simply monitors the balance contained in the public addresses. I am not the owner of this website, only a user. I am in a similar situation where I have cold storage wallets and I want to keep track of those balances.


  1. Setup a Bitcoin-Core (formerly Bitcoin-Qt) wallet on a separate, offline computer.
  2. Import the private key.
  3. Protect the wallet with a long, random gibberish password.
  4. Forget or throw away the password.

You now effectively have a read-only wallet for your address, which you can safely use in other Bitcoin-Core installation, in online or potentially unsecure environments.


Try https://blockonomics.co , you can easily track the balance of your address. You can also label your addresses and get email notifications on credits/ debits

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